Tennis

Navratilova and McEnroe ‘sorry’ for rules breach over Court protest

The legendary tennis stars oppose 24-time grand slam winner Court's views on homosexuality and want the Melbourne Park court renamed. Navratilova, 63, climbed into the umpire's chair to address the crowd at the end of her "Legends" doubles match Tuesday, however the television feed was cut off as she was speaking.She then unfurled a banner reading "Evonne Goolagong Arena" in reference to Australia's seven-time grand slam champion and paraded it around the court with McEnroe.Australian Open organizers were quick to admonish the "two high-profile guests" for breaking tournament regulations."I got in trouble," Navratilova told Tennis Channel."I am sorry I broke protocol, I had no idea there was this kind of protocol. Had I known I would have done it differently."But I would still have tried and made my statement, which is basically you name buildings after not what people just did on the court but also off the court, the whole body of work."I said my piece. You can read my whole statement, I stand by that, but I do apologise for breaking protocol. I did not mean to do that."McEnroe issued an apology read out by his employer ESPN, saying: "Admittedly I was never one to study the rule book carefully or, for that matter, even at times abide by the rules."In this case, I was not aware of the Tennis Australia rules and protocol for issuing credentials. For that, I apologize to Tennis Australia and recognize and appreciate the great job they have done to make the Australian Open a great event for the fans, players and myself."Court, now a Pentecostal pastor in Western Australia, has likened LGBTQ teaching in schools to the work of "the devil" and previously said tennis is "full of lesbians".The 77-year-old, the most successful player of all time, won all four grand slams in 1970.She was invited to this year's tournament to honor the 50th anniversary of the achievement, but Tennis Australia said it did not agree with her "demeaning" personal views.

'Embodiment of a role model'

Following her on-court protest Tuesday, Navratilova published a letter on tennis.com explaining why she thinks the arena should be named after Goolagong, describing the former world No.1 as the "embodiment of what a role model or hero truly is".Navratilova wrote: "When airports, buildings, streets or stadiums are named after particular people, it is done, or at least should be done, to honor exceptional human beings — our heroes.Tearful Novak Djokovic pays tribute to Kobe Bryant after Australian Open victory"Think Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Billie Jean King, Rod Laver, Rosa Parks. Would it not be appropriate if the Staples Center were renamed as a tribute to Kobe Bryant?"Such luminaries excelled in their fields and transcended them; they made a positive contribution to mankind; they led by example. And, perhaps mRead More – Source

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